Hunter Biden’s Likely Appeal Strategy Conflicts With President’s Gun Control Policies

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Hunter Biden’s lawyers have indicated they may use a controversial Supreme Court ruling, praised by conservative gun rights advocates and criticized by President Joe Biden, to appeal his gun crime conviction fired, putting the president in the awkward position of disagreeing with the merits of a decision. this could potentially clear his son’s record.


A jury found Hunter Biden guilty Tuesday of lying on a federal form to purchase a gun by claiming he was not a drug user, lying to a licensed gun dealer the federal government and illegally possessing the gun for 11 days while addicted to crack cocaine.

In a landmark 2022 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, the Supreme Court ruled that New York’s concealed carry law granting gun permits only to owners with “good cause” to possess a firearm violated the Fourteenth Amendment, stating that These firearm regulations must be “consistent with the nation’s historic tradition of firearm regulation.”

President Joe Biden said he was “disappointed” by the decision, arguing that it “contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all.”

The Bruen decision paved the way for successful challenges to one of the laws Hunter Biden was convicted of violating, Section 922(g), which establishes nine exclusions for gun possession. fire, including illegal use of or dependence on a controlled substance.

Citing Bruen, Texas and Oklahoma district courts and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned charges against marijuana users for gun possession, and the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a Pennsylvania man who sued the state after being denied a gun. permit following his decades-old conviction for lying on a food stamp application, under § 922(g)(1), which prohibits anyone convicted of a felony punishable by more than one year prison for possessing a firearm.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers cited Bruen, as well as rulings from the 5th and 3rd Circuits, in an unsuccessful attempt to dismiss the charges against him, even as the Justice Department sought to overturn both rulings and asked to the Supreme Court to review them.


Hunter Biden’s legal team argued that it is “inevitable under Bruen” that Section 922(g)(3), which prohibits drug addicts from being permitted to possess a firearm, ” violates the Second Amendment,” in a motion to dismiss the charges. filed in December. Judge Maryellen Noreika, who was appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump, ruled that the 5th Circuit’s decision applied only to Daniels and did not strike down the law prohibiting drug users from owning firearms . She also noted that the “vast majority” of lower courts that reviewed the law under Bruen upheld restrictions on drug users.

Surprising fact

Separately, unlikely allies of Hunter Biden, conservative gun rights advocates have spoken out against prosecuting him on gun-related charges. Rep. Tom Massie, R-Ky., tweeted Tuesday “Hunter may deserve to be in jail for something, but buying a gun isn’t it,” adding that “there are millions of marijuana users who own guns in this country, and none of them should be in prison for purchasing or possessing a gun in violation of the laws in force. X owner, Elon Musk, campaign opponent. president’s re-election campaign, responded to Massie that he agreed Hunter Biden should not be in prison for what he called a “pseudo-crime” CJ Grisham, a Texas attorney and open-carry advocate. , told the Wall Street Journal: “I think Hunter Biden is a despicable person and I don’t believe in his policies at all, but the fact is he’s being accused of a false crime.”

Key context

A jury convicted Hunter Biden on all three counts Tuesday following a six-day trial and three hours of deliberation. The Justice Department’s Office of Special Prosecutor David Weiss filed the charges in December after a plea deal negotiated by his lawyers with prosecutors fell through. The deal would have allowed him to participate in a diversion program to avoid gun-related charges and plead guilty to a separate set of misdemeanor tax charges in exchange for prosecutors’ recommendation of probation. The trial revealed personal details of Hunter Biden’s struggle with addiction as prosecutors sought to prove he knowingly lied on the gun purchase form when he checked a box indicating he was not a drug user. Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to the charges in October, and his lawyers argued at trial that he denied his addiction and did not deliberately lie when he purchased the gun.

To monitor

Hunter Biden will likely be sentenced within the next four months, Noreika said Tuesday. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a $750,000 fine, although legal experts say prison time is unlikely for a variety of factors, including the fact that he is a first-time offender. -offender and the weapon was not used in any manner. other crimes.

What we don’t know

Hunter Biden’s legal team has not said whether it will appeal the verdict, but the president said in a statement that he “will continue to respect the legal process while Hunter considers an appeal.”

Further reading

Hunter Biden found guilty on all counts in federal gun trial (Forbes)

Will Hunter Biden go to prison for gun crimes? It’s possible, but here’s why it’s unlikely. (Forbes)

Hunter Biden indicted: How the Supreme Court was able to thwart his gun charge (Forbes)